Considering how much I admire Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, it seems a little odd that it’s taken me so long to get around to watching Superbad (2007)… until you factor in how irritating I find Jonah Hill, and how ambivalent I am towards the “gawky teen boys try to get laid” genre of comedy. Given a choice, I’d rather watch Dazed and Confused for the umpteenth time… but this film got great reviews and made a shed-load of money, so there’s no point in me ragging on it now. At least the writers had the good sense to split the three amigos up, so I could enjoy Cera doing his low-key sensitive guy thing and Mintz-Plasse being adorably dorky, without Hill aggressively swearing at them the whole time. Oh, and by law all DVD menus should feature a silhouette of Cera dancing. Fact.
Sadly the film is a total sausage-fest, with the female characters all consigned to the periphery… but there are still some very talented women in the cast worth calling out: First up is Emma Stone, making her feature film debut as ‘Jules’, the ill-deserved love-interest for Hill’s character, and hostess of the party which acts as a catalyst for the boys’ gross-out odyssey. She’s basically playing the “straight man” here, so she doesn’t get a chance to flex her comedic muscles very much… but everyone has to start somewhere, right? Fun fact: Stone is a natural blonde, but producer Judd Apatow asked her to dye her hair red for this movie… and apparently it stuck (see also: Cynthia Nixon and Christina Hendricks). Next up is Brooke Dillman as the school’s Home Economics teacher ‘Mrs. Hayworth’. Just the other week I was watching Dillman in an episode of The Office (US), where a well-meaning Pam sets her up on a disastrous blind date with Michael… and I still say he was a fool to give her the cold-shoulder! Her character may not have been as glamorous as Jan, but she was very sweet, and she has a fantastic face. But I digress… here she’s little more than a plot device to get Hill and Stone together, and she’s never seen again after that rather contrived twist. Shame.
Martha MacIsaac plays Cera’s love interest, ‘Becca’, who seems quite sweet and shy during the school scenes, but turns into a sloppy, slurring seductress once she’s “in her cups” at the party. For some reason the scene where she throws up brought back a very strong sense-memory of being sick, which stayed with me for the rest of the evening… despite the fact that I haven’t actually vomited for several years now (touch wood). Ick. It’s notoriously difficult to play a convincing “drunk” on-screen, but MacIsaac does a great job here, and everyone on the commentary is quick to point out what a great sport she was… especially during the filming of a scene where Cera is supposed to accidentally punch her boob, and he kept missing because he was too embarrassed/chivalrous to hit his target. At one point we see the same character in a flashback, where she’s played by Laura Marano… who I will always picture standing by the side of a road, holding up a stick with a dry dog poop stuck to the end of it, cheerfully shouting the word “Doodie!” at passing cars. Not because that’s a weekend hobby of hers (as far as I know)… it’s just something she had to do in character, as the young version of Sarah Silverman, in her eponymous Program. She also played Big S’s protégée in the “Little Miss Rainbow” episode… a role which was written especially for her, after they realised how funny she was in the pilot. Apparently Marano will soon be starring in a show of her own… a Disney sitcom about two aspiring singer-songwriters called Austin & Ally, due to air later this year. She’s already posted some sample tracks on her website… but I presume she’s holding back her full-length version of the “Poop Song” for a solo album…?